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Jason Holder

'We see him as an impact player' – Jason Holder talks up Shannon Gabriel

Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, views the upcoming tri-nation series, against the hosts Ireland and Bangladesh, as a means to fine-tune the team ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, which begins on 30 May in England and Wales.

Eight of West Indies' 15-member squad will gain some valuable match practice in the tri-series, which gets underway on Sunday, 5 May. "Once we hit all three departments in terms of batting, bowling and fielding well, we'll definitely be a good side at the end of it," said the 27-year-old. "We see this as an opportunity to get into some match practice and start our preparations into the World Cup."

With a number of Windies players, including the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, still playing in the Indian Premier League 2019, there is an opportunity for others to display their skill.

"These guys will see it as an opportunity to showcase what they can do at an international level," said Holder. "I guess many of them haven't played international cricket and have not played ODI cricket, and it's just an opportunity for them to be seen on this circuit. I'm sure they will be keen for an opportunity [to make it to the Playing XI)."

One of the surprise inclusions in the Windies squad was of the experienced fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who last played an ODI in 2017. Holder, however, expects Gabriel to play the role of an enforcer on what are expected to be batting-friendly pitches in England and Wales.

The tri-series is an opportunity for Gabriel to acclimatise as well. "Coming to England, you tend to be gifted with some really good conditions in terms of batting," observed Holder. "There tend to be a lot of high-scoring games and you basically have to outscore the opposition. Most of the times when you do bowl well, you take wickets at the front.

"Shannon Gabriel's role is to come in and make inroads into the middle-order"

"Shannon is one we see as an impact player. His role is to come in and make inroads into the middle order. There's been an area of concern in the past where we've struggled to get wickets in the middle period. So having a guy like Shannon who has pace and experience, it's good to have him there and push things for us."

West Indies play the tri-series opener in Dublin against Ireland on 5 May.

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